Heather Shaff

Heather Shaff – Designer

I'm a professional interior book designer and longtime book lover. I believe good design should complement and showcase good content!


I'm an interior book designer with 25 years of experience in design, composition, production and manufacturing. I've honed these skills in the employ of several leading publishing houses in the Boston area, such as Little, Brown & Company; Houghton Mifflin Co.; and Harvard University Press.

I'm skilled at designing and typesetting all different types of books. I have a lot of experience with complex technical, legal, and medical titles; but I'm also completely happy designing simpler fiction and non-fiction, too. My goal for my designs is to help the reader find information quickly and easily, while creating a beautiful environment on the page so the reader also enjoys the reading process. If the reader really delights in their experience but is unaware of my role in it — well, then I know I've done my job well.

I'd also be interested in designing more book covers. I would be happy to provide this service at a discounted rate, in order to build my portfolio. Please let me know if this would be something that interests you.

In order to provide you with an accurate estimate, I will need to know the complexity of design you are looking for, your budget, and your deadline. Generally, a simpler design and a looser deadline will accommodate a smaller budget, while a more complicated design needed in a shorter timeframe will require more resources.

In sum, I am a seasoned, capable professional who is detail-oriented, knowledgeable, and easy to work with, though I'm also quirky and fun-loving, too. In my spare time I read and write a lot, race my bike, and enjoy spending time in nature. I look forward to chatting about your next project!
Biographies & Memoirs Education & Reference History Law Life Sciences Political Science & Current Affairs
Literary Fiction Poetry

Work experience


Apr, 2004 — Present

I enjoy creating attractive and unique book designs for publishers, packagers, and authors based on the desired look, book length, and budget. I am skilled at designing complicated technical, scholarly, medical and legal titles, but I very much enjoy designing and typesetting trade fiction and non-fiction titles, too. In addition, I do some cover design and logo design, and I size and correct illustrations, and figure out best placement and layout for ultimate readability.

I work primarily in Adobe Creative Cloud: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Reader, but am also proficient with Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

Harvard University Press

Jun, 1997 — Apr, 2004 (almost 7 years)

Managed the Spring and Fall lists of New Paperbacks for Harvard University Press, in addition to creating interior and cover designs for assorted new HUP titles. Created a budget for each paperback title in the Spring and Fall lists, sent each title out for bid and selected an appropriate printer and manufacturer. Worked with printers and manufacturers to assure each vendor met HUP's desired schedule and quality standards. Approved two and four-color covers and interiors on press, both locally and internationally, to ensure color quality and accuracy. Hired and managed freelance designers as needed. Performed additional office duties such as managing paperback schedules and processing invoices, and worked to resolve manufacturing and scheduling problems while ensuring accurate communication between departments.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Apr, 1997 — Jun, 1997 (2 months)

Managed teams of editors, designers, illustrators, photo researchers, and manufacturing buyers in the production of El-Hi (Elementary and High School) textbooks for the McDougal Littel division of Houghton Mifflin. Created schedules, and organized and facilitated meetings of teams for each book. Reported development status of each title to the Chicago office of McDougal Littel in order to schedule production and manufacturing.

Little, Brown & Company

Apr, 1994 — Mar, 1997 (almost 3 years)

Managed an independent list of new legal and medical titles for Production. Created interior and cover designs, and produced layouts and specs for each. Sized illustrations and created layouts for composition. Performed castoffs as needed to ensure titles would fit the desired number of book pages. Reported on the status of my projects at meetings and worked with editorial and sales departments as needed to ensure titles came in on time, within budget, and with the desired look indicated by the sales team. Designed and produced ancillary materials, such as CDs and study guides, as needed.

Little, Brown & Company

May, 1992 — May, 1994 (about 2 years)

Assisted the production department in the development and creation of legal treatises and textbooks. Learned how to create schedules, bid projects out for composition, and keep track of costs. Learned the basics of interior book design, first through the use of dummies and tracing paper and later via computer using Quark XPress. Learned how to write specifications for book composition, and create castoffs to determine book lengths. Assisted the department in day-to-day activities such as mailing manuscripts to authors and typesetters, paying invoices, and creating and updating the department's production schedule.

Heather has 3 reviews





Chris A.

Chris A.

Sep, 2020

I had a great experience working with Heather! She was quick to reply to my questions, offered helpful suggestions and even helped me on some last-minute changes. I would definitely recommend her services!
Larry T.

Larry T.

Jul, 2020

Heather did a great job. She is personable and professional.
Yvonne F.

Yvonne F.

Jun, 2020

It couldn't have been a better experience working with Heather! She did the interior design for my book and it turned out beautifully. Throughout the process she was professional, communicative, and totally invested in delivering a quality product that I would be happy with. Highly recommend and would work with her again without hesitation.